2010 MEN’s JUNIOR AFRICAN NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP, LIBYA Day 2: Sunday, October 2: Match Report South Africa v Tunisia By Donovan Nair Once again the South Africans had to succumb to the “height –factor” when they met tournament favourites, Tunisia in the 2nd match of the 2010 Men’s Junior African Nations Championship in Misurata, Libya. South Africa lost their opening encounter of the tournament to the tall Egyptian team in straight sets. Boasting an average height of 1,95 metres, the Tunisians were devastating in attack and rock solid in defence at the net, giving the SA lads little or no room to manoeuvre past them in a largely one sided match. SA’s 3-0 ( 25-9; 25-6; 25-18) drubbing effectively ruled them out of the semi-finals. The opening minutes of the encounter against the Tunisians was a case of baptism of fire when they came face to face with the 2,05 m giant middle attacker, Omar Agrebi who pounded the ball every time playmaker Hatem Obba brought him into the fray. Agrebi’s mere presence at the net was most intimidating for the South Africans. While Mohamed Ben Abdallah’s rocket services were too much to handle, skipper Brahim Besbes’ left hand slammed down a series of quick attacks hat threw the South African game plan into a state of disarray. The Tunisians romped home with a 25-9 score line. A change in strategy by the SA coach, Cantor Africa saw skipper, Quwin Naidoo team u with Lee Sullivan to take care of matters at the net and Musa Mazibuko given the crucial role of igniting the team’s attack force. Key attackers, Miles Thompson and Keifer Govender who struggled to pass the imposing Tunisian block were rested. The coach put his faith in Dean Layters and Quwin Naidoo to put points on the board. However, continuing with their winning ways from the previous set, the North Africans were merciless in attack. The 1,96m tall Mohamed Ben Abdallah’s bullet service continued to wreak havoc among the SA reception players. Tunisia raced to a 25-6 score line in a short space of time. With a comfortable 2-0 lead under their belt, Tunisian coach, Mouir Gara rang the changes to give his 2nd string players a chance to shine against the shell – shocked SA lads. The change in the Tunisian camp benefitted the South Africans as they grew in confidence and took the fight to their more fancied opponents. The Dean Layters and Quwin Naidoo combination yielded valuable points. SA scored a morale boosting point that levelled the scores for the first time (6-6). From time to time skipper Brahim Besbes and Omar Agrebi stepped up to hammer home a few quick points in succession to remind the South Africans that they were still n control of the situation. With ‘Lady-Luck’ on the side of the South Africans they amassed 18 points. Sadly, the Tunisian response was devastating. In a ‘few moments of madness’ the tall and powerfully built Tunisian attackers closed proceedings with a 25-18 score line. Tomorrow (Monday), the South Africans meet the little known team from Cote d’ Ivoire in a fight for the 3rd spot in their group. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------. Day 3: Monday, October 4 Match Report: South Africa v Cote d’ Ivoire By Donovan Nair The thrashing meted out to newcomers Cote d’ Ivoire to the international stage by the more experienced Tunisians and Egyptians in the earlier round of the 2010 Men’s Junior African Nations Championship in Misurata, Libya did not put a damper on their spirits when they squared up to South Africa in the final group match. Like the Ivoirans, SA were winless after having played their first two matches against Egypt and Tunisia. For the South Africans, a loss at this stage of the competition was inconceivable. Despite a scrappy start the one sided opening set was quickly wrapped up by the SA team with a 25-8 margin. Attackers Miles Thompson, Velisa Ntshuntshe and Quwin Naidoo fired at will to put the set beyond their opponents’ reach. The SA lads went on to post a comfortable 25-11 win against their opponents who grew in confidence as the match progressed. For the first time the Cote d’ Ivoire team ushered in a kind of resistance that the South Africans were unprepared for. A few clinical finishing at the net followed by crucial blocking saw the West Africans ahead on points for the first time in the encounter. When the West Africans reached 8-6 at the 1st technical time out , there were celebrations all round by the handful of their supporters. South African strong men Lee Sullivan, Quwin Naidoo and Velisa Ntshuntshe wrestled the lead away from the minnows (19-15). Impressive attacking by Dominhein Coulibaly and the left-handed Franck Kriona pushed their score up to 17 points. When the South Africans stepped up their game the curtain came down on their opponents’ fight-back. SA won the set by a 25-17 score line. Tuesday is rest day. On Wednesday South Africa will meet Chad in the 1st play-off match.
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